Charges May Be Dropped From 1921 Race Riot

Friday, November 30th 2007, 9:04 pm
By: News On 6

The Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris has plans to drop riot charges filed 86 years ago, after the Tulsa Race Riot. The district attorney says he's filing a motion this month to dismiss riot charges brought against 55 defendants in 1921. The defendants were all black Tulsans, accused of agitating the riot.

Andrew Jackson Smitherman was one of those defendants. A biographer working on his story called prosecutor Tim Harris to see if charges could ever be dropped. In a statement, Tim Harris writes our criminal justice system broke down during the tragic event and justice would be best served if charges were dismissed against not only Mr. Smitherman, but all defendants. Tulsa historian Eddie Faye Gates says this is another step in the right direction.

"We have done the research. People have apologized, some have. And, this expunging is a good chance for more to really acknowledge that this group didn't bring it on themselves,” said historian Eddie Faye Gates.

Watch the video: Charges Could Be Dropped In Race Riot